Reporting year 2022

Looked after children aged 16 to 17 in independent or semi-independent placements

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Introduction


Headline facts and figures - 2022

  • There were 7,370 children looked after (CLA) aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi independent living accommodation at 31st of March 2022. This is equivalent to over a third of all CLA aged 16 to 17 (36%).
  • There is a higher proportion of children aged 16 to 17 in these placements who were unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) (42% living independently and 45% in semi-independent accommodation) compared to the national average for 16 to 17 year old CLA (23%).
  • Roughly three quarters (76%) were aged 17 while around one quarter (24%) were aged 16 for both independent and semi-independent living accommodation.
  • The majority of CLA aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation were male (71% and 74% respectively at 31st of March 2022) which is higher than for all CLA aged 16 to 17 (63%).
  • Compared to all CLA aged 16 to 17, a higher proportion of these children are on voluntary agreements under S20 (71% for living independently and 74% in semi-independent accommodation compared to 43% for all CLA aged 16 to 17). They are also more likely to be in private provision (79% and 85% for children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation respectively, compared to 57% for all CLA aged 16 to 17).
  • A higher proportion of children aged 16 to 17 move into semi-independent accommodation within a week of starting to be looked after (48%) compared to moving into independent living (37%) and all CLA aged 16 to 17 (33%).

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Number of children at 31 March

There were 7,370 children looked after (CLA) aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent living accommodation at 31st of March 2022. This is up from 6,010 (23% increase) in 2021 and has more than doubled (130% increase) since 2012.

The proportion of all CLA aged 16 to 17 living independently has fallen from 17% in 2012 to 10% in 2022, while the proportion in semi-independent living accommodation has risen from 6% in 2012 to 26% in 2022.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)

A higher proportion of children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation at 31st of March 2022 were UASC (42% and 45% respectively) compared to all CLA 16 to 17 (23%).

Age at 31 March

Of those CLA in independent or semi-independent accommodation aged 16 and 17, around a quarter were 16 (24% for both) and around three quarters were 17 (76%). This compares to all CLA aged 16 to 17 where 43% are 16 and 57% are 17.

Sex

There was a higher proportion of boys living independently (71%) or in semi-independent accommodation (74%) at 31st of March 2022 compared to all CLA (63%). This is being driven by the higher proportion of UASC in these settings, who are more likely to be male. When looking at CLA in these settings who were not UASC, the proportion of boys is 55% and 51% for independent living and semi-independent accommodation respectively which is closer in line with the national average.

Ethnic origin

Around 1 fifth of children aged 16-17 in independent and semi-independent placements are from other ethnic groups. This is larger than the proportion of all CLA and all children aged 16-17 from other ethnic groups (12% and 3% respectively). The proportion of all CLA who were Black or Black British children and aged 16 or 17 (12%) is similar to the proportion in independent accommodation (14%) and the total population (12%) but lower than the proportion in semi-independent living (18%). These differences are driven by higher proportion of UASC in these settings. 

Disability

Around 7% of children aged 16 to 17 living in independent and 8% semi-independent accommodation had a disability compared to 13% of all CLA aged 16 to 17. This data has been obtained by matching to the Children in Need census data. Data was unavailable for a small number of cases. 

Most children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation were on a voluntary agreement under S20 (71% living independently and 74% in semi-independent accommodation). For all CLA aged 16 to 17, the majority were on a care order (56%) or a voluntary agreement under S20 (43%).

Placement provider

Most children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation were in private provision (79% and 85% respectively) at 31st of March 2022, a much higher proportion than all CLA aged 16 to 17 (57%).

Locality of placement

The proportion of children aged 16 to 17 placed inside the local authority boundary is higher for children living independently (68%) compared to those in semi-independent accommodation (58%). The average for all CLA aged 16 to 17 (56%) is similar to those in semi-independent accommodation. 

Note that distance from home has not been reported here due to the large number in the ‘not known or not recorded’ group. Where a child is UASC a home postcode is not submitted and the distance from home is therefore ‘unknown’.

Time to start of placement

Slightly more children living independently move into these placements in less than a week (37%) compared to all CLA aged 16 to 17 (33%). Children in semi-independent accommodation have a higher proportion moving into their placements in less than a week (48%) compared to all CLA aged 16 to 17.

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Ad hoc official statistics

Ad hoc official statistics are one off publications that have been produced as far as possible in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about Looked after children aged 16 to 17 in independent or semi-independent placements statistics and data:

Children's Social Care Analysis and Research

Email: michael.ellis@education.gov.uk
Contact name: Michael Ellis
Telephone: 01325 340407

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